Articles on this Page
- 04/30/18--18:06: _Upcoming Documentar...
- 04/30/18--18:06: _Simple, Clever Obje...
- 04/30/18--18:06: _Design Job: Are You...
- 04/30/18--18:06: _How Does This Pop-U...
- 04/30/18--18:06: _Standards Manual's ...
- 05/01/18--18:22: _Design Job: Get a G...
- 05/01/18--18:22: _The Success of the ...
- 05/01/18--18:22: _An Object to Preven...
- 05/01/18--18:22: _On the Floor with C...
- 05/01/18--18:22: _Hands-On with Unrea...
- 05/01/18--18:22: _Colored Pencil Sket...
- 05/02/18--07:05: _Design Job: Paid In...
- 05/02/18--07:05: _Behavior-Based Desi...
- 05/03/18--07:12: _Utrecht's New, Spac...
- 05/03/18--07:12: _Navigate New York D...
- 05/03/18--07:12: _Feeling Overwhelmed...
- 05/03/18--07:12: _Steven M. Johnson's...
- 05/03/18--07:12: _Design Job: Design ...
- 05/03/18--09:57: _How to Slip Cast Ur...
- 05/03/18--18:18: _LEGO-Compatible Fur...
- 04/30/18--18:06: Upcoming Documentary on NASA Concept Artists
- 04/30/18--18:06: Simple, Clever Object That Makes Washing Dogs Easy
- 04/30/18--18:06: Design Job: Are You Obsessed with the Craft of Industrial Design?
- 04/30/18--18:06: How Does This Pop-Up Bicycle Work?
- 05/01/18--18:22: Design Job: Get a Grip on Your Career
- 05/01/18--18:22: An Object to Prevent Rust Rings Left From Cans, Yea or Nay?
- 05/01/18--18:22: Hands-On with Unreal Studio
- 05/02/18--07:05: Design Job: Paid Internship Free of Tangles
- 05/03/18--07:12: Utrecht's New, Space-Efficient Three-Level Bicycle Parking Facility
- 05/03/18--07:12: Navigate New York Design Week with Our NYCxDesign Map
- 05/03/18--07:12: Feeling Overwhelmed? Here's a Good System for Getting Things Done
- 05/03/18--07:12: Design Job: Design to Live Smarter
- 05/03/18--09:57: How to Slip Cast Urethane Resin, to Simulate Blow-Molded Parts
- 05/03/18--18:18: LEGO-Compatible Furniture
Remember our awesome* series on Space Colony Form Factors? To refresh your memory, in the 1970s NASA was working out how to create gravity in space. It was decided that something enormous and circular in at least one axis, so it could spin, would be required. A host of concept artists were then used to render what these fanciful floating cities and farms could look like.
Now Don Davis and Rick Guidice, two of the concept artists who created those renderings, are finally getting their due: "Artist Depiction" is a forthcoming documentary where they get to share their experiences of working on the project, as well as show us their previously-unseen sketches.
"These oral histories will be lost to time without a series like this," says filmmaker Brett Ryan Bonowicz, who was motivated to put the doc together when he realized their stories hadn't been told. "I was amazed when I couldn't find interviews about these works."
"Artist Depiction" has been successfully crowdfunded on IndieGogo and should premiere in October of this year. There's still 14 days left to contribute, and those that do can gain an early look at the film.
*Yes it was awesome. No you shut up.
The sequence of my thought process when seeing this object:
1. This seems silly
2. Oh wait a sec, this would be very useful
3. WHY DID I NOT THINK OF THIS
The Bath Buddy is a simple, inexpensive object designed to make bathing your dog easy. (I don't know about you and your pooches, but washing mine is like losing a jiujitsu match to a dog while someone sprays you with a hose.)
While that's a Kickstarter vid, the campaign is closed as it's already been successfully crowdfunded. My hat's off to inventors Megan and Rob Hoover, who have perfectly harnessed the properties of silicone to create a useful object.
They're selling them here.
Ziba believes in creating experiences that are deeply and powerfully right for the brands they represent and the consumer lives they touch. We believe in beautifully crafting each andView the full design job here
You have to see this thing in action, it beggars belief:
Sadly I could find no information on the bike and its inventor. Watching the video, I can't even discern how the heck he makes it go up and down. If any of you have any inkling, let's hear it!
At its core, Emoji is a supplement language designed to accompany our own languages to give the appearance of human emotion during digital conversations. Weird, right? When MoMA announced that they had acquired the original set of emojis from Japan, people were confused for understandable reasons. Its often difficult for people operating outside of the design world to think of graphic systems we use on a daily basis as design. Are emojis design? Where did they come from? Why are they here? What have they become? With their new book, Emoji, Standards Manual aims to explore those valid questions through graphic design and extensive research.
What we find particularly fascinating about this book is that learning about the history of Emoji is nothing like reading about hieroglyphics or other image-based languages from thousands of years ago. Emoji is more like studying our own personal language behavior, which is difficult to do objectively. To learn more about the peculiar topic of emojis and why they chose to address it from a design standpoint, we sat down for a chat with Hamish Smyth and Jesse Reed of Standards Manual:
Core77: Can you give us a base level "History of Emoji 101" lesson?
Hamish Smyth: In the 90's, Japan was very much ahead in terms of mobile phone technology. Mobile phone were invented in the United States, but they really leap-frogged in Japan, and they had a really sophisticated network in the 90's. They had data transfer before anyone else really had a reliable system for that, which means they had a primitive mobile email system on phones in the 90's. They also had beepers at this point, but their beepers included this thing that DOCOMO, the AT&T of Japan, called i-mode. i-mode was this primitive email and data transfer system, and one of the features of i-mode was that you could, on your beeper, write a little message and then press a button and put a little pixelated heart on the end of a message. Essentially it was an emoji heart, but you could only do a heart, just one thing.
People really liked it, but then for some reason, they updated i-mode, I think around '98, and they took the heart away. Apparently people hated that. They were like, "bring back the heart! We love it." And so they said, "okay, give us a second." They went away, they figured out how to bring the heart back, but they also designed a whole suite of these little graphics. And that's what the first emoji set was—it was this set of 176 little graphics that you could attach to phone messages or emails using DOCOMO phones. They were designed by Shigetaka Kurita.
DOCOMO was ahead of everyone else with this, so it was a great marketing tool for them. It eventually became so popular that all of the other phone carriers adopted the same system in Japan. Everyone in Japan was using emoji since '99, 2000 and the early-2000's, but we didn't have anything like that in the West until Apple and Google adopted the Unicode standards for emoji in 2011. I think they were working on it from around 2009-2010, but 2011 is when it was released. Of course, by then, screen technology was way, way better, so the emojis were different-looking. But they used the same principles as the original ones, and the original ones are the ancestors of the ones we have today. If you sent a heart back in 1999, that's the same heart that we use today.
Jesse Reed: Emoji was invented to enhance the complexity of digital communication. When you're not face-to-face this is the replacement of us looking each other in the eye. It adds an extra layer. If you text someone "Thanks", and there's no exclamation mark or period, it's either "Thanks!" or "Thanks." Are you being sarcastic? Give me a little bit more emotion.
What made you decide to compile this information into a book?
Jesse: We know the emojis in our phones very well. They're all silly, but the history of them hasn't been told at great length yet. As with most things, it appeared and people think it came out of thin air. We're trying to tell the story of why they were created, where they came from and who designed them a little bit more.
What are some interesting, unexpected design details within the emoji system?
Jesse: One interesting thing is that nothing can be centered. The grid is symmetrical, but that means there can't be this middle stem in any of the images. So everything ends up being somewhat asymmetric because you can't center anything within the grid. We learned little things like that from interviewing Shigetaka and talking about his process.
In graphic design these days, the underlying grid is a feature that people add to logos and identities, but a lot of the time it's just bullshit. The do it after the fact and are like, "look at the structure that we created." But with emoji, it was truly an architecture that had to be followed no matter what. You couldn't cut corners. You couldn't add anything. You couldn't even make diagonally cut pixels. You had to make these recognizable images appear out of a 12x12 pixel grid. It's the right way to use an angular end grid, and it's important for people to see that process.
Each individual emoji has so much information behind it. How did you decide to put all of this information together in your book?
Jesse: Most of the book is one spread per emoji. Every spread has an enlarged emoji with the grid kind of overlapping it and then a one-to-one scale in the very top on the left-hand page. Then on the top of the righthand page is all of the technical data like the unit code, the hex color, the number it was assigned and everything like that. It's interesting seeing them so blown up because they become abstract when they're small, so when you see them at full size they become more clear.
"Various things influenced emoji. One was the pictogram. Pictograms are used as signs in many places in Japan like stations and public places. The second was the Japanese art of Manga, which uses graphics to express emotion. Lastly, it was Japanese magazines. All of these things that organize and communicate information came together to influence the creation of emoji." —Shigetaka Kurita, designer of emoji
This exercise in distilling a complex object down to a form like this is really hard. Shigetaka doesn't even consider himself a designer. He's not a trained graphic designer, in fact, her's a game designer now. But this is such a graphic design challenge—it's not a normal thing that we deal with. Even when designing a corporate identity, the goal is to have some sort of complex form and distill it down to the bare essentials of productive design. I don't think people equate emoji with that practice because what we see now are really like photographs.
You ended up taking a research trip to Japan for this project. What were your main objectives while on this trip?
Jesse: There were many reasons why it was important to go there, obviously to meet Shigetaka and the team at DOCOMO, but you'll see in the video that we shot a lot of B-roll of Japanese life because all of the emojis are based on Japanese culture. The initial set were just everyday objects that people encountered in Japanese life that aren't necessarily the same in the US or in Europe or anywhere else in the world. It's very interesting to see their environment and what they pulled from. One example is that the emoji for mail is the logo of the mail service in Japan. It doesn't look like a mailbox, it's just a logo that's a Japanese character that only they would equate with mail. If you saw it you would have no idea.
Can you talk about the book's unique cover design?
Jesse: Oh yeah, It's awesome. A black print of the emoji is on a board below this bright green vinyl so you can see the graphics through the vinyl. The different layers and the way the book lights up from the green vinyl is supposed to look like an old flip phone screen.
The cover graphics are a crop of the full set of original emoji sketches. Shigetaka scanned this particular page and gave it to us. Not all of them ended up being made. We didn't even know the sketches existed, but when we interviewed him, I think we just asked, "do you have any sketches?" and he was like, "Oh yeah, I have this sheet that I did all my ideas on" And then he just photocopied it for us. I don't even think MoMA had it on display or included it anywhere. He acted very nonchalant about it. He's very humble, and when we interviewed him he talked about how no one at DOCOMO ever intended this to be a global phenomenon. It was just a very one step at a time transition from i-mode.
There's also a keyboard component to this project. Can you explain what that will be like?
Jesse: It's going to be a keyboard extension with the original set of emojis so that you can use them on your own phone, more or less like stickers. That was kind of the impetus of the project. They wanted to make a keyboard extension in the States, and we got involved and said, "that's cool, but we don't really do that. We make books. Could you get us some original sketches?" So they did, and now we're doing the whole package deal. The keyboard will be included for free during the Kickstarter campaign, and then it will be sold afterwards.
What do you think the principal of emoji and the system's history says about each respective culture?
Jesse: Emoji is highly organized information that is just so thoughtful, and it has to be. From the selection of objects to the way that they're designed to the way that they were deployed is kind of just like Japanese culture. That type of organization is normal. Looking at the Apple emojis, they're so complicated and overdecorated, which probably says something about our culture.
Hamish: In the mid-2000's, Japan moved on from emoji even before the West had adopted it. They had stickers, and they invented all these way more complex ways to express emotion. We're so far behind.
PopSockets LLC, based in Boulder, Colorado, designs, manufactures and sells innovative lifestyle products. Our flagship product, the PopSockets grip, was invented by philosophy professor David Barnett, with the first grip sold on PopSockets.com in 2014. Our product is a collapsible grip and stand that provides secureView the full design job here
Like the Bath Buddy from yesterday, I'll put this in the silly-but-useful category. The Forktula is simply a small piece of silicone with two holes on it, and it goes over two fork tines like a sleeve.
That allows you to do this:
As someone who hates to waste food, this appeals to me. But the primary reason I bring up objects like this, and the Bath Buddy, is in hopes of inspiring the would-be design entrepreneurs among you to look around and identify something you struggle with, no matter how small.
These are relatively simple products to source and manufacture, and both were successfully Kickstarted. I know that some of you readers have got ideas, too, and I hope you get cracking on them.
The constant struggle for product designers is (or should be): Am I creating something of true utility, or just bringing more stuff into the world?
I do get annoyed at how bottles/cans in bathrooms/kitchens get wet, collect water at the bottom and leave a ring on surfaces. But I cannot countenance the thought of buying rubberized coasters for them.
GRIPPONZ snaps on to the bottom of the can and stays on to prevent damage to the surface. When you are done with that can, just remove GRIPPONZ, wash it with warm soapy water, and use it again.
Clean freaks who hate rust marks might find them desirable:
What say you? Valid "problem" and worthwhile product, or no?
This year's SaloneSatellite showcased a wide variety of projects, many of which extended beyond traditional furniture design. Throughout Milan Design Week in general, we noticed three material trends—inflatables, foam and adjustable ratchet straps—all of which be seen scattered throughout this recap. Our favorite projects from the rather extensive exhibition within Salone pushed the boundaries of traditional design in ways we hadn't seen before. For example, has anyone reading this used glue sticks as a primary material for furniture before? Didn't think so.
Epic Games is in the process of rolling out an exciting new design visualization tool based on their popular game engine Unreal 4. Currently in open beta, Unreal Studio is intended to bring real time rendering to design visualization and provide industrial designers and architects tools to create fast, stunningly beautiful animations, walk-throughs, renderings and interactive product demonstrations. The technology is already in use by some major companies as Epic is betting on a recent trend toward real-time rendering as it seeks to position Unreal as a go-to tool for real time rendering for industrial design.
The real time aspect of Unreal piqued my interest because, let's face it, no one enjoys the monotony of waiting for for a scene to render only to realize there are changes to be made. Epic's recent collaboration in real-time ray tracing with NVIDIA and ILM-xLAB featured at GDC 2018 is a beautiful preview of where this technology is headed. It is also convincing evidence that Epic is not playing around as they strive to deliver higher levels of visual quality while pushing real-time rendering into the workflows of the industrial design and architecture industries.
Before getting started with Unreal I had a chance to chat with Chris Murray, Epic's Technical Marketing Manager for Enterprise. Chris filled me in on the concept behind Unreal Studio and the vision behind it at Epic. The goal is to introduce Unreal Studio to the design visualization space to give industrial, product, environmental, and architectural designers tools to use real-time rendering as part of the design visualization workflow. The studio offering will also include industry specific support for designers and the like.
According to Chris the advantage of this approach is to shave hours, days and maybe weeks off the process of visualization with real-time tools that allow designers to make changes to everything from scene assets, materials, colors, finishes, and lighting more quickly. Because Unreal is a game engine it is ready to present these real time rendered visualizations through interactive web, VR and AR experiences. Currently, and through November of this year, Unreal Studio is available as a free open beta to anyone who signs up.
Unreal Studio is closely integrated into Unreal Engine 4 as it layers on new tools to the existing game engine. New templates and blueprints (which are simply pre-packaged code for specific applications) create new starting points that are geared toward design applications. The Unreal Studio download includes these features:
Datasmith - Direct import tools to move models into Unreal Studio
3DS Max Datasmith Exporter - designed to export existing 3DS Max projects into Unreal Studio
Unreal Studio templates and blueprints - specifically designed for design visualization
Epic Enterprise learning materials and support - geared toward enterprise, non-game oriented, users
100 included Materials - from Substance by Allegorithmic
Access - to Unreal's massive marketplace of existing assets, materials, and other goodies
The Datasmith tools and learning resources are the cornerstones of Epic Enterprise's effort to create Unreal Studio. To give industrial designers a "frictionless" path to move CAD resources into Unreal, Datasmith includes a set of importers to bring models directly into Unreal Studio for realtime rendering. The importers include support for industry favorites like SolidWorks and AutoDesk Inventor file formats as well as Catia, Pro/E and many standard formats like IGES and STEP files. The 3DS Max Exporter plugin provides the ability to export 3DS Max scenes to a Datasmith file format ready to import into Unreal with standard materials and lighting intact.
The exporter will capture pretty much everything in a 3DS Max scene including standard materials, lighting, and geometry and package it for easy import into Unreal. I tried the importers on some of my own Inventor models and assemblies and they worked well with only a few basic tweaks necessary for orienting the models correctly in a scene. The importer also automatically handled UV mapping of the now triangulated surfaces well enough to dive right into applying materials and shining lights on the models.
As a total novice in Unreal most of my test drive centered around the second cornerstone: new learning resources for Epic Enterprise. These consist of demonstration scene assets and online video tutorials available from Epic. This was helpful as an overview of the interface and also offered deep dives into specific capabilities and processes in Unreal Studio. Chris Murray, from Epic, said these new learning resources will expand in the coming months and will continue to offer designers basic through expert level information about all aspects of the Unreal Engine.
Through the learning resources I quickly became comfortable with the interface and dove into explorations of scene structures, materials and lighting. The demonstration assets served as good examples of the engine's capabilities and provided a solid structure on which to learn the software's basics. The interface is fully customizable and centered around a familiar viewport with game-like controls. At first I noticed a few of the nomenclature choices were unfamiliar. Like when I opened a demonstration project to find it blank and realized that I need to load a "level" in order to see any of my "actors" and manipulate any scene assets. The interface includes a separate, tabbed editor window that allows for a fast and responsive multi-monitor setup. The editor window is home to material editing, scripting, as well as UV and mesh tools.
The Unreal still needs standalone solutions for asset creation making it an addition to most existing workflows. A teaching colleague familiar with Unreal, Filip Kostic, laid out his preferred workflow like this: Maya/C4D (modeling, UV Mapping), Photoshop (traditional texture painting), Mudbox or Substance Painter(Direct model painting), and final materials and shaders always built via Unreal Engine 4 visual script shader building tool.
The material/shader system in Unreal is a familiar node-based visual scripting tool that makes understanding complex materials with many inputs and outputs fairly easy. While there are hundreds of different expressions and functions built in there are a handful of key expressions that do most of the work to control everything from color, metallic reflection, specular and roughness to normals and ambient occlusion. What is most remarkable about the system is how easy it is to convert nodes to parameters to create dynamic material instances allowing for fast on-the-fly material tweaking without recompiling.
Each of the demonstration projects I worked with showed off the visual quality of Unreal's real time rendering engine and some of the visual still felt game-like as opposed to photo-real. However, the ability to dynamically light scenes, change materials, move fluidly in a scene, and also visualize the scenes in VR offer a unique and compelling trade-off. This test drive with Unreal has not led me to think of real-time rendering as a replacement for traditional ray-traced rendering techniques but rather a new compliment to familiar visualization techniques. The price point supports this view: when the open beta ends in November the Studio will cost $50 per month to license. At that price it seems to me an enticing new tool to create immersive, interactive visualizations for my projects.
Overall Unreal Studio a solid value proposition to add to the visualization workflow. If you are curious about real time rendering or you've been thinking about applying VR to a project, now is an excellent time to test the waters with Unreal Studio.
Wax hardness, pigment payout, sharpenability; these are things that concern the sketch-happy pencil geeks among you. Graphic designer, illustrator and art teacher Mark Campbell knows this.
Campbell has his students use Prismacolor Scholars, rather than the more expensive Prismacolor Premiers. Here he tests them out side-by-side, and drops more pencil knowledge than any of my professors ever did. (Ignore the click-baity title of the video, which I'll address in a minute.)
I checked my local Blick and could not find the sharp price distinction Campbell mentions; and on Amazon I see a 60-pack of the Scholars going for about $20, with a 72-pack of the Premiers going for $25.
Campbell's video is fairly recent--did Prismacolor recently slash prices?
Annie is a beauty and cosmetics company based in North Wales, Pennsylvania. We are a wide ranging team that develops innovative products from start to finish. Our products include combs, brushes, electrical hair styling tools, manicure/pedicure tools, cosmetics and more. We are looking for a passionate internView the full design job here
Good design takes people's natural behavior into account, rather than forcing unnatural solutions on them. In this example from Amsterdam, we see the importance of observing that behavior and working with it to solve a problem.
The problem is that cycling in Amsterdam has increased by 40% over the last 20 years, meaning their bike lanes are growing overtaxed. One particular bicycle crossing called Mr. Visserplein has 20,000 cyclists passing through it each weekday, and the congestion is taking a toll.
Amsterdam's city planners analyzed the issue and came up with a two-pronged approach:
I found the bit about the cones the most interesting.
When a huddle of stopped cyclists all begin to move, obviously human variety means some will move faster, others slower; thus by the time they reach the narrower aperture at the other end of the crossing, they will have automatically--absent any need to cooperate--sorted themselves out as a group and can wheel neatly through the slot.
This reminds me of the thing that irritates me most in subways: People on the platform attempting to enter the train while folks are still exiting. The people muscling their way in want a seat and are motivated by self-interest. Thus my proposed solution is to have subway doors that swing out onto the platform and have edges lined with poison-tipped spikes.
Utrecht's central railway Station already has two bicycle parking facilities but, given high demand, they've just opened a third. As the Dutch are wont to do, they wrung usable space out of an unlikely site, in this case a skinny, long patch of land right next to the tracks.
With such a narrow footprint, they obviously had to build both upwards and downwards to create capacity.
Here's how the space operates:
A lot of thought went into this facility. The Bicycle Dutch blog breaks down the design and functions of the "Knoop," as it's called:
The elongated shape of the site dictated how much of the space needed to be used. The racks could only be placed parallel with the long side of the building. Had they been placed perpendicular, it would lead to numerous short dead-end corridors that would be socially unsafe. Such a placement of the racks would also render the building complicated to understand.
The three floors, one on ground level, one in the basement and one just under the walkway, give room to place two-tier racks for 3,000 bicycles. Two-tier racks are the standard in the Netherlands.
The wall between the facility and the bus station, that is in turn located between the building and the railway tracks, will always be free. That is why the architects decided to make that a wall of frosted glass. This floods the building with light. So much light inside is quite the opposite of the dark underworld that had existed under the 1970s walkways. A very deliberate choice.
This facility is just a small part of what will be a larger solution for the train station. In the areas surrounding the station they're planning to build capacity for a total of 32,000 bikes, "But it is already known that this won't be enough in the future," BD writes. "Utrecht is the fastest growing city of the Netherlands and more spaces will be needed." I'm looking forward to seeing what they come up with next.
New York Design Week is on the horizon, and you know what that means! Our NYCxDesign Map is back to help guide you through the city that never sleeps on your quest to discover great design.
With countless exhibitions, parties and presentations to go to throughout the month of May, scheduling can get a bit tricky. Not to mention, if you aren't from the the 'Big Apple', navigating can be a real challenge. Use our map on your phone or your computer to plan your schedule, filter through the events you really want to go to by category and/or location (yes, you can just search for parties). We hope it'll help you have a more pleasant, carefree Design Week.
Do you know of a killer NYCxDesign event that hasn't made it on our guide? We encourage you to let the world know by submitting it via the submit button at the top left of the map.
See you at NYCxDesign! And if you're not in NYC this May, be sure to stay up-to-date with our Instagram Stories—we'll be sure to keep you in the loop.
I recently saw an Instagram post by craftsperson @anneofalltrades. In the post Anne expressed her worries about things not getting done, and ongoing difficulties with task completion. Many of her issues are common to anyone running a business, especially one where your labor is an integral part of production. These same issues can affect designers or hobbyists trying to build a serious project but simply stymied by everything else in their lives.
I have been self employed for twenty-two years, and running Tools for Working Wood for just over nineteen, so I commented on Anne's post with the methods I use of getting things done. These are practical techniques that make me more productive, and I actually enjoy most of my day. There is just too much work in it, and these methods help me cope.
First off, realize there are twenty four hours in a day. Doing nothing but working, eating and sleeping isn't sustainable for any sane person - even if one enjoys their job. We all have other needs and commitments, whether it's family, friends, or just chilling. The guilt we feel about "wasting time" when we aren't working is real, but misplaced.
Anne touches on how not fulfilling your (self-imposed) obligations can lead to feelings of helplessness, depression, and (totally unjustifiably), failure.
My solution is to keep two lists.
My Main List consists of everything I need to get done. The list has big projects on it like "Produce some new tools," but overall I try to be pretty atomic in tasks: "Contact the guy in order 123456 and find out the problem." As I get closer to tackling the tasks, I start to break things down.
I also try to add enough detail on the list so I don't waste time puzzling over what I mean. This last bit is especially important because putting something on the list isn't the same as getting it done, and some items stay on the list for years. This list contains several hundred tasks, and I refer to the more current parts of it on a daily basis.
When I get something done on the list I cross it off. But this list doesn't get me out of my hole. It just defines the hole.
Every day I make a Second List, a short list of what I actually think I can accomplish in a reasonable day. I try to make this list realistic, and my daily goal is to clear it. If I do, I can relax and do other stuff for fun. If I don't, I know I am overcommitted. Over the years I've realized this list needs to be pretty short, because during the day I will inevitably spend time chatting with customers, vendors, colleagues and or spend time on critical events.
Meetings go on the list too. The list is very atomic. After I cross stuff out, I have a real feeling of accomplishment; the day's work is done. When I don't finish my list, I start wondering about how to lower my deliverables through postponement, delegation, and any other strategy I can think of.
It's not a perfect system, but it has enabled me to relax without guilt, and focus on tasks that need to be done.
The Merits of Lists
The worst thing you can do is not write down a list. Relying on your memory is not only iffy, it's real work. Who wants the stress of wondering if something important was forgotten? Without a list there is also just a formless, unending, overwhelming sense of falling behind.
By the way, for long-term tasks I useand for the daily list I usually use a Post-It at my desk. I go through a lot of Post-Its.
Suppose you want to build a desk or another complex project. If you go into your shop thinking "What's next? I gotta build a desk!" it is easy to be overwhelmed. But if you go into your shop with a list saying, "I have an hour only. I will mill the wood for the drawers," you can actually get stuff done. You feel encouraged by what you're accomplishing, not discouraged having only one hour to spend. I have found written procedures for pacing a project very, very helpful. Less stressful and more productive.
So that's my two cents. All I can say is that it works for me. It takes some discipline and sometimes I slack off. When I slack off I find my stress level increases. Less and less gets done and I complain more.
The picture above is a corner of my desk on April 24, 2018. It's not pretty. Cleaning it up is on my main list, but it's not anywhere near the top of my list. I do find that a clean desk helps me work faster, but I just don't know where to put half the stuff. It's a work in progress, and like the rest of us, I am still learning.
This article was provided courtesy of Joel Moskowitz, founder of Tools for Working Wood, the Brooklyn-based catalog retailer of everything from hand tools to Festool; check out their online shop here. Joel also founded Gramercy Tools, the award-winning boutique manufacturer of hand tools made the old-fashioned way: Built to work and built to last.
Flex is a leading sketch-to-scale™ solutions company that designs and builds intelligent products for a connected world. With more than 200,000 professionals across 30 countries and a promise to help make the world Live Smarter™, the company provides innovative design, engineering, manufacturing, real-time supply chain insight and logistics services toView the full design job here
Here industrial designer Eric Strebel shows us how to do something tricky: Using casting to create a part that would, in production, be blow-molded. "This week's video is about adapting a ceramics technique called 'Slip Casting' to the world of resin casting," Strebel explains. "I show you how I use the method to simulate a blow molded medical part to make a functional prototype.
This slip-casting process takes patience and proper technique, so be thankful that Strebel's already figured out how to do this right and walks you through it:
From furniture manufacturer MOOW comes the Stüda, a LEGO-compatible table designed by Italian firm Nine Associati. Offered in three different sizes, the storage units are surfaced not in LEGOs themselves, but in Corian that they've CNC-milled to provide the studs.
I can see the appeal of the idea, but I prefer the DIY transforming LEGO workstation (below) that Tez Gelmir built for his son. I'd also like to see what architect Jeff Pelletier, the man with the world's most organized LEGO room, would make of this.